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Team Up Against Diabetes grant recipients

Sun Life’s Team Up Against Diabetes grant program awards organizations for supporting diabetes prevention, awareness and care efforts in their local communities.

Recipients are recognized for their innovative approaches to diabetes prevention and/or management, wellness, nutrition and obesity prevention. Applications are reviewed annually by a panel of Sun Life employees, business partners and independent health experts.

The following organizations have received a grant from the Sun Life Team Up Against Diabetes grant program:

Emory University was be the recipient of a $100,000#TeamUpAgainstDiabetes grant from Sun Life. Emory University will be using the power of soccer to prevent diabetes among minority men. This program will leverage the power of sport to engage a predominately minority population (33% African American, 33% Asian, 33% White) in the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

The Hunger Intervention Program was the recipient of a $25,000 #TeamUpAgainstDiabetes grant from Sun Life. HIP’s mission is to increase food security across all stages of life for underserved populations in King County, Washington through nutritious meals, prevention-focused educational programs, and anti-hunger advocacy. Sun Life’s grant will also support HIP’s Healthy HIP Classes to bring cooking and nutrition education classes to children and their families.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (Native Food for Life) in Washington, D.C. is one of the recipients of a $50,000 #TeamUpAgainstDiabetes grant from Sun Life to support their Native Food for Life program, which focuses on the prevention and reversal of diabetes in the Navajo Nation and the Eight Northern Pueblos of New Mexico. Sun Life’s support of this program will allow for the adaptation of the Native Food for Life curriculum into an online format, will train at least six local experts to assist in program delivery, and will help launch community workshops in four new locations.

This year, the Supportive Older Women's Network (@SOWN50) received a $25,000 Sun Life #TeamUpAgainstDiabetes grant to support its Philly Families Eat Smart program. The PFES program focuses on increasing #healthy eating and physical activity in grandparent-headed families to reduce obesity and improve health.

Victory Programs was the recipient of a $50,000 #TeamUpAgainstDiabetes grant from Sun Life. Victory Programs focuses on providing fresh produce and nutrition information to food-insecure families in the Dorchester and Mattapan areas of Boston. With Sun Life’s support, Victory Programs will be able to maximize food security for families living in their nearby ReVision Family Home, along with other low-income residents in the area. 

2019 recipients

Boston Children’s Hospital’s OWL program is focused on addressing pediatric obesity. The grant support will help expand OWL’s exercise component to the Torigian Family YMCA in Peabody, Mass. Boston Children’s hopes to engage about 200 children at this facility in a program that expands the scope of care and reinforces the importance of physical activity through fitness tracking and diverse programming. 

Mama’s Kitchen provides home-delivered, medically tailored, nutritious meals free of charge to local men, women and children vulnerable to hunger due to HIV, cancer and other critical illnesses, including congestive heart failure and Type 2 diabetes. With this grant support, the program expects to serve 200 more homes, helping to improve access to nutritious foods and diabetes self-management coaching, reduce disease complications and lower healthcare costs while improving overall health outcomes.

NOVA Scripts Central provides prescription drugs to uninsured and underinsured patients in the Northern Virginia community. Its ALL PHASE program pairs an evidence-backed medication regimen with a health literacy curriculum designed to reduce diabetic patients’ risk of heart attack or stroke. Sun Life’s grant will enable NOVA Scripts to continue to recruit patients to its ALL PHASE program and help support a nutrition pilot program for 250 patients.

Sansum Diabetes Research Institute’s Farming For Life was created to reduce the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in the local area and reverse the worsening health crisis with “prescriptions” for free, fresh organic vegetables, rather than expensive medications. A physician writes patients a weekly vegetable prescription based on their health measurements, and when participants fill their prescriptions, they receive enough vegetables to feed their family for the week. Sun Life’s grant will help the center expand this program and serve more people in need in the Santa Barbara community.

Poor access to healthy, nutritious foods puts adults at a 50% higher risk for developing diabetes. Western Maryland Health System’s food security program aims to prevent this risk by assessing and streamlining a sustainable approach to combating the problem. With this grant funding, the program will be able to screen 2,400 at-risk individuals to assess their need for cooking equipment, vouchers for healthy foods from local pantries, healthy living workshops, and access to dieticians and wellness programs. Additionally, the food security program will focus on monthly community outreach events that include risk assessments, cooking demonstrations and physical activities. In the long term, the program will develop a process to identify health gaps, recruit community partners, and integrate into county health and human service networks.

WMHS has been at the forefront of value-based care and is continually working to improve the overall health of the community with a variety of health initiatives. WMHS has also addressed underserved populations with the Hometown Healthy outreach program, which aims to help at-risk populations make more informed healthcare decisions.

2018 recipients

Boston Children's Hospital (BCH), in collaboration with The Dimock Center and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC), is launching a mobile kitchen initiative, which will increase access to nutrition education and healthy cooking opportunities in an effort to reduce the risk of diet-related disease. Dimock and EBNHC, which are community partners in BCH's Fitness in the City Program, will use the mobile kitchens for cooking demonstrations, nutrition education, Head Start programs and agriculture pick-ups, among other activities. With this grant, Boston Children's, Dimock and EBNHC intend to equip health center patients in disadvantaged communities with the resources necessary to address the intersecting issues of food insecurity, obesity and diabetes.

Camp Surefire offers a weeklong, overnight summer camp to children and youth with Type 1 diabetes. Camp Surefire features recreation, diabetes education seminars, and socializing with peers and others who understand the unique challenges of living with Type 1 diabetes. The program serves 85 campers annually aged 6-17 from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The grant will assist in providing financial support to children in need.

Dogs4Diabetics (D4D) mission is to train, support, and partner insulin-dependent clients with life-saving Medical-Alert Service Dogs and Diabetes Buddy Dogs to reduce the risks associated with diabetes. D4D also works to promote, develop, and advocate for standards of quality performance and support of all medical service dog teams. They join the diabetic community in hoping for a cure of the disease, but our sole purpose is to support diabetics by providing service dogs that improve their quality of life today.

Grant funding will support the Client Training and Educational Program for 24 insulin-dependent children and adults during the 2018-2019 fiscal year. Once clients successfully complete training, they are then placed with their life-saving Medical-Alert Service Dog to help them better manage their diabetes. The program typically takes clients three months to complete and is taught by a team of 3-5 instructors in addition to diabetes educators, physicians, nutritionists and wellness coaches.

Grow Ohio Valley (GOV) is a local food hub that will apply grant funding to its Sprout and Farmacy programs. Through the Farmacy, doctors write prescriptions for vegetables to patients with diet-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes. Participants collect local produce each week at the GOV farm stand, and participate in cooking demos, recipe exchanges, nutrition education and health screenings. The Sprout program delivers interactive educational programming to local youth, centered around agricultural and nutritional literacy. Sprout provides an early intervention to make fresh vegetables more accessible and appealing to young people, building a culture of health. Together, these programs will reach more than 3,400 children and 100 adults.

Go Austin/Vamos Austin (GAVA) will use their grant to support community organizing to build resident leadership and institutional alignment in five sectors -- Physical Activity, Healthy Food Access, Coordinated School Health, Early Childhood and Community Safety. GAVA's ultimate goal is to prevent obesity and diabetes, improve the health of the local community and build community power for health equity. GAVA's organizers identify potential leaders, provide training opportunities, and support active teams as they advance hundreds of evidence-based health strategies. Organizers support each GAVA team in creating an action plan, drawing on a compendium of evidence-based strategies compiled by researchers and content experts in the community. Resident leaders on the GAVA teams determine the specific actions they will take to improve health access in their neighborhoods, such as improved playgrounds or lighting at a local park; completed sidewalks; after-school menu revisions; refrigeration or play equipment in a childcare center; or a healthy corner store.

2017 recipients

Camp PowerUp is a place where children learn valuable skills they need to live a full and healthy life. It is specifically designed for children with multiple risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. The program offers a structured, kid-friendly program in key areas, including nutrition education, fitness, and health and wellness education. The program also provides parents with dedicated sessions that cover topics their children are learning at camp so they can continue to influence their child’s behavior and provide continued support for healthy lifestyle choices after camp.

What Can I Eat? (WCIE) is an interactive diabetes self-management support program. WCIE focuses on nutrition education for both adults with type 2 diabetes and their caregivers. The program consists of four weekly 90-minute sessions, followed by a reunion three months later, which serves to reinforce positive behaviors and share life lessons. WCIE uses activities that motivate and empower participants to adopt healthier eating habits. Topics such as how to read food labels and best practices when grocery shopping are covered.

Camp Surefire is a summer program for local youth with type 1 diabetes. The weeklong, overnight program features recreational activities, diabetes education seminars, and socialization with peers who understand the unique challenges of living with type 1 diabetes. Camp Surefire is for children ages 6-17, with all volunteer counselors, who receive field experience in medicine, pharmacology, education, and nutrition.

The Sulzbacher Diabetes Care Initiative provides clinical care and education for homeless and uninsured adults. It was created to address the growing need for diabetic medical care for the homeless and low-income members of the local community. The initiative consists of four components: provision of glucometers and test strips; diabetic nutrition classes; provision of medication and pharmaceuticals; and diabetic eye care.

Supportive Older Women's Network (SOWN), Philly Families Eat Smart (PFES), Philadelphia, PA aims to reduce obesity and improve physical wellbeing for grandparent-headed families. PFES, a project of the GrandFamily Resource Center, works not just to educate, but also to foster peer support relationships and ultimately change lifestyle behaviors. Children and their custodial grandparents will participate in the educational and experiential program twice a month. Topics and activities include: emotional eating, physical fitness (including sidewalk games and yoga), cultural food choices, and attitudes toward wellbeing.

The Diabetes Self-Management for Low-Income Appalachian Adults program provides diabetic care for underprivileged patients in the community. The program offers direct medical care by carefully monitoring glucose levels and other health related markers, as well as providing eye exams. Patients also participate in exercise activities, hands-on cooking methods, and weight loss techniques. Enrollees in the program commit to one class per month, and at least one other risk-factor class, such as  a class focused on exercise, stress management, or smoking cessation.

The YMCA of Southern Maine’s Youth in Motion initiative works with local youth at risk of developing diabetes or other health conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle. These children are referred to the Y by pediatricians affiliated with Maine Medical Center. The Y matches each child with an adult mentor who engages them in fun, accessible physical activity and the Y’s three dimensions of health and well-being for youth: relationships, accomplishments, and belonging. Children in the program meet with their mentors once a week for 12 weeks.

The Diabetes Wellness and Prevention Program is a newly enhanced effort at the YWCA of Asheville. It will use evidence based curriculum and referrals through partnerships with community organizations, including Western North Carolina Community Health Services to help increase diabetes education and awareness. Other local initiatives that focus on increased access to healthy foods, such as the Double Up Food Bucks program, will support participants in the Diabetes Wellness program. The program participants will attend classes for 6 weeks, which will  be followed by 6 months of weekly support group meetings.

2016 recipients

Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago (BGCC) received a grant in 2016 to strengthen and enhance nutrition education and after-school physical activity programs through its existing program, called "Triple Play: Mind, Body, & Soul." Triple Play incorporates the national "Healthy Habits" curriculum, which equips youth with crucial skills needed to become healthy, successful adults by addressing the "mind" (knowledge and nutrition education), "body" (challenging, non-competitive physical fitness), and "soul" (development of social and ethical skills through sports and active hobbies). Overall, BGCC provides youth with the knowledge and skills needed to make smart choices that lead to healthier lifestyles and overall long-term well-being.

Based in Dallas, the DHWI received a grant in 2016 for their Healthy Weight Management Program, which delivers two curriculums- the Healthy Eating and Exercise Lifestyle Program (HELP), designed for adults that have been identified to be at risk for the development of diabetes, and the Group Lifestyle Balance Program (GLB), designed for any adult that seeks to make improvements in his or her weight and who may or may not have diabetes or other chronic conditions.

Overall, the DHWI has been able to support many program participants with maintaining a healthy lifestyle resulting in the prevention or control of diabetes. The DHWI is committed to continuing to meet educational and lifestyle modification needs in the southern Dallas community.

In 2016, the YMCA of Greater Hartford received a grant to implement the national YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program.

The YMCA of Greater Hartford anticipates 70 program participants by the end of year 1 (2017) and over 1,800 total participants by the end of year 5 (2021). Since the YMCA of Metropolitan Hartford has six full-facility branches and four program branches, it will be able to scale the program across all sites over time.

Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Dogs4Diabetics (D4D) received a grant in 2016 for the support of a dog sponsorship. This included extensive training for both the dog and the Client.

D4D dogs are specially trained to identify and alert their diabetic handler when they smell the subtle scent that hypoglycemia creates (humans cannot detect this scent). Dogs can detect this chemical change in the body even before it is registered by existing technology. This allows Clients to treat the condition before they become symptomatic. As a result, the diabetic individual can remain alert and active and avoid the debilitating impact of a hypoglycemic episode. This also means that Clients avoid the long-term risks associated with diabetes, such as blindness and amputation.

Based in Portland, OR, the Legacy Weight and Diabetes Institute received a grant in 2016 to support the launch of four new 12-month Prevent T2 groups – three in-person (on-site) groups and one virtual group. Prevent T2 groups meet weekly for two months, biweekly for the next four months, and monthly for the final six months (12 months total). Prevent T2 is based on the CDC's National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), which addresses diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes with the goal of increasing physical activity and reducing body weight. This project is designed to benefit people with a previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) or a current diagnosis of pre-diabetes. The goals of the project are to prevent or, at the minimum, delay the onset of diabetes, which will reduce medical costs and improve the health-related quality of life for participants and their families.

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SLPC 30798 5/21 (Exp. 5/23)